Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr Viber
Empire
Trending On Empire
The Big 2015 Movie Preview
The 50 Best Films Of 2014
Review Of The Year 2014
100 Greatest Characters
Your all-time favourite heroes and villains
Subscribe To Empire
Sign up now and save 44%
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
18
Cast
Christopher Walken
Brooke Adams
Tom Skerritt
Herbert Lom.
Directors
David Cronenberg.
Screenwriters
Jeffrey Boam.
Running Time
103 minutes

LATEST FILM REVIEWS
Vacation
2 Star Empire Rating
Strange Magic
2 Star Empire Rating
Looking For Love
3 Star Empire Rating
Pressure
3 Star Empire Rating
Misery Loves Comedy
3 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Man With A Movie Camera
5 Star Empire Rating
Salt Of The Earth, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Song Of The Sea
5 Star Empire Rating
Look Of Silence, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Mad Max: Fury Road
5 Star Empire Rating

The Dead Zone


submit to reddit


Plot
Johnny Smith awakens from a five-year coma to discover he has psychic abilities. After helping a small-town Sheriff catch a serial killer, Johnny is convinced that crusading politician Greg Stillson is a potential danger to the world.


Review

One of a wave of Stephen King adaptations from the early 1980s, this was a step towards the mainstream for weirdo auteur David Cronenberg.  It has some of that episodic ‘compressed miniseries’ feel which a lot of King pictures get stuck with (the book was later redone as a TV serial with Anthony Michael Hall) but still manages a lot of powerful material. 

Walken has one of his signature roles as stiff-legged outsider Johnny Smith, alienated by the loss of his entire life (his girlfriend Brooke Adams has married someone else) who foresees disasters wherever he goes.  There’s a mini-psycho picture as Smith helps the cops in King’s small town of Castle Rock root out the killer in their midst, which prompts the film’s few straight shock sequences (a scissors suicide, a mad performance from Colleen Dewhurst as the monster’s mother), but the dramatic meat of the piece comes when Johnny tangles with up-and-coming politico Stillson, a folksy homicidal maniac who now looks horribly like a young George W. Bush. 

Cronenberg gets a lot out of the wintery Canadian locations passed off as King’s haunted Maine, and works hard with his actors – weaving between the s-f/horror stuff is a great deal of underplayed emotion, especially in the heartbreaking business between Walken and the underrated Adams.  Familiar supporting players like Skerritt, Herbert Lom and Anthony Zerbe – who are usually asked to turn up and read their lines – get a little more meat, and rise to the occasion.  And West Wing fans who think Sheen ought to be President should check out his political villainy here.


Verdict
Cronenburg attempting a little mainstream with this Stephen King yarn and really pulling it off.


Reviewed by Kim Newman

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

Your Reviews

Average user rating for The Dead Zone
Empire Star Rating

Dead Zone

I didnt know what to expect from this Cronenberg film. It started off standarly enough guy in car crash etc but from there on i loved it. I felt Walken's performance made a huge part of the film actually work, also the fim had a great plot with lots of cronenberg weirdness in it. Not Cronenbergs best but still a great film. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by OMGWTFBBQ at 20:18, 03 July 2006 | Report This Post


RE: The Dead Zone

There seems to be two David Cronenbergs making movies, these days, Cronenberg the auteur(omead RingersashistenZthe Cronenberg who deals in more mainstream, but still grisly efforts(History of Violence adaptation of Stephen King's bestseller d Zoneitely falls into the latter. The story(adapted here by t Boys Lethal Weapon 2 Jeffrey Boam)concerns a schoolteacher implausably named John Smith(Christopher Walken), returning home after a date with fellow teacher Sarah(Brooke Adams), gets in... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Peter A. Quinn at 08:38, 29 April 2006 | Report This Post


RE: The Dead Zone

Absolutely loved this movie, played pitch perfect by Walken and improved on King's story(imo) -a rarity for any film. ... More

Posted by kasm at 08:22, 29 April 2006 | Report This Post



CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
Black Mass Trailer Breakdown With Director Scott Cooper
Find out what's what with Johnny Depp's take on Boston Gangster Whitey Bulger

The N.W.A-Team
Empire visits the set of Straight Outta Compton

Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation
Read Empire's official verdict

Empire Meets Joely Richardson
On Maggie, Arnie and Event Horizon

100 Greatest Movie Characters
The complete list of your all-time favourite heroes and villains

Vote Now For Your Favourite TV Shows
Pick your top five - if you can...

Paul Rudd Is Awesome
Being awesome: from Clueless to Ant-Man

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Empire print magazine

Delivered to your door – with exclusive subscriber only covers each month!

Subscribe now!

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Empire digital magazine

Exclusive and enhanced content – get instant access via your iPad or Android device

Subscribe now!

Subscribe now and save up to 67%
Print, Digital & Package options available Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire Digital Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  Digital Edition  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)